News, Events & Press

Planting the Seeds of Change

Planting the Seeds of Change

PFF and MPG with Kim May 2022The Petit Family Foundation *PFF) returned to CMHA's 233 Main Street Headquarters to plant four o'clocks as part of Michaela's Garden Project.
"This is the third season that they've planted the garden," said Kim Petit, Office Assistant with the Foundation. The flowers come from the seeds of the garden of the late Michaela Petit. The Petit Family Foundation sells the seeds in her memory, using the proceeds to further the Foundation’s mission to help educate young people, especially young women in the sciences, support those with chronic illnesses, and help to protect those affected by violence.
The bright, multi-colored blooms will soon greet all who come to 233 Main Street, and CMHA looks forward to continuing this beautiful initiative. Read more in The Bristol Press here.
Right: CMHA President & CEO Raymond J. Gorman with Kim Petit and Bill Petit of the Petit Family Foundation in 2022.
Below: CMHA staff join the Petit Family Foundation to officially designate CMHA's 233 Main Street gardens as a Michaela's Garden, 2021.
CMHA and PFF in Michaelas Garden 2021
April Staff Spotlight!

April Staff Spotlight!



Staff Spotlights 2021 4



Angie Melendez, Patient Access Supervisor

The Open Access Center is where many have their first interaction with CMHA. While seeking treatment is hard enough for many people, having a kind, compassionate person go through that process with you makes all the difference. Angie's expertise, patience, and exceptional way of taking care of our clients is a testament to her heart and dedication to CMHA's mission. Thank you, Angie!


Laura Vazquez, Patient Access Representative

Laura's enthusiasm and compassion for the CMHA mission can't be contained - and neither can her smile! Always there for our clients, she takes the time to sit with people to explain the intake process, and effectively coordinates with OP managers to ensure everyone in need gets an on-the-spot intake. For all the joy and hope you bring to the office and our clients: thank you, Laura!


Perla Girardo, Employment Specialist

An active member of the Benefits & Wellness Committee, Perla is also Chair of the Russell St. Events Committee. In collaboration with Team Time Staff, Perla has spearheaded the planning and putting together of the upcoming Spring Gala for Team Time members and CCFS clients. The amount of time and energy she has dedicated to this event is unparalleled: thank you for all your hardwork, Perla!




Get Ready for IMPACT: New Program at CMHA

Get Ready for IMPACT: New Program at CMHA

Get Ready for IMPACT: New Program at CMHAIMPACT for Website 2
Over the past five years, the overdose rate in Connecticut has increased by 61%, and the number of homeless individuals has nearly doubled in the past year alone. To combat the opioid epidemic, CMHA has recently launched a new program: IMPACT (Intensive MAT Person Approach Community Treatment).
Leading this initiative is Program Coordinator Marisa Giaccotto (front left) and her team (clockwise): Clinician Manny Sandoval, Recovery Specialist Rob Skrzypek, Peer Navigator Olivia Rowen, Clinician Tina Nassetta, and Recovery Specialist Dionna Talareva.
Funded through a $2.625 million, five-year grant from the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the program will expand access to treatment and reduce opioid use among homeless, at risk individuals through outreach and embedded services with three local, collaborating shelters.
"I am most looking forward to helping clients access housing resources," said Giaccotto, "and live healthier lives by overcoming their opioid use disorder."

Celebrating Black History Month at CMHA

Black History Month Open Discussion 2.23.2021Did you know that every year a new theme is designated for Black History Month? This year's theme: Black Health and Wellness. This acknowledges not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also Afro Latinos and other disciplines that exist throughout the African Diaspora, including birth workers, naturopaths, herbalists, and doulas.
To recognize and celebrate Black History, as well as the history being made still today, CMHA held a series of events and forums for staff, clients, and community members. The Behavioral Health Home (BHH) Team led two events, including a Black History Month Celebration & Open Discussion as well as an educational forum on Integrated Health Care Practices in Black Communities.
A number of staff came together for the Open Discussion, participating in honest, and at times, difficult conversations around diversity, inclusion, and the challenges of addressing institutionalized racism in the intersecting fields of behavioral health, addiction services, and criminal justice.
Lymicha Wrice, BHH Nurse and Catherine Youngstrom, a PCP Consultant for BHH, facilitated the open-to-the-public forum on Integrated Health Care Practices, with BHH Program Coordinator Ed Ford moderating.
Commenting on the public forum's primary health topics, Wrice remarked, "I enjoyed discussing the cluster of conditions which make up metabolic syndrome and the risk factors which increase the chances of having it." Wrice then recommended "attending your preventative care visits and getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days; [that] may help with preventing the conditions which cause metabolic syndrome."
"I was so glad to be invited to participate in this event," said Youngstrom, "The information we shared about health disparities really just scratches the surface of this important topic." 
Group photo with Senior Team
Not to be outdone, CMHA's Team Time Social Club celebrated Black History Month in a big way. Members and staff from across the agency came together to enjoy music, food, poetry, and dance as they learned about important Civil Rights as well as present-day leaders in the fight for equality.
Assistant Program Coordinator Linda McGruder said, "One of the event's guest speakers told me, as soon as they walked in, that they could feel the 'love and kindness' in this space. It brought tears to my eyes. The clients feel the love, the hard work of the staff, in all we do, so that just - I don't have the words."
When you're here at the Team Time Social Club, you're never alone - and you feel the love and kindness. On behalf of all CMHA clients and staff, Thank You to everyone who helped make this event so welcoming, fun, and special for our members!
Annual Meeting 2021: Writing Our Own Story

Annual Meeting 2021: Writing Our Own Story

Writing Our Own Story: Resilience, Recovery, and Community at CMHATomasso and Simmons with crowd

At CMHA's 2021 Annual Meeting, joined by community partners and supporters of the agency, President & CEO Raymond J. Gorman remarked, "Back when the pandemic began and so much was uncertain, I sent an all staff email in which I said that in the coming months, we will learn a lot about ourselves as an organization and as individuals. Looking back now, 18 months later, I’ll tell you what we learned: that we are resilient, dynamic, determined, and, simply put, really good at what we do."

Over the past year and a half, we've seen so many staff shine as true heroes. What others might call 'going above and beyond' is just the way things are done at CMHA, which makes naming the Chairman's Award recipient such a difficult task. That is why CMHA started a new tradition this year and presented three awards: one for a programmatic team, one for a direct care individual, and another for an administrative services individual.

In its inaugural year, the 2021 Chairman's Team Award went to: The Multidimensional Family Therapy Teams which include Amanda Ferrari, Diana Roman, Renny Lora-Acosta, Joel Garcia, Autumn McClendon, Ariel Perkins, Kirsten Burdick, Edielynn Cardona, Mirtalis Rubert, Marta Ortiz, Nichole Pagan, Jazmine Nava, Roseydy Martinez, and Patricia Spiegel. Congratulations all!

The 2021 Chairman's Direct Care Award went to Christopher Marino, Clinical Director, and the Administrative Services Award went to Lisa Daley, MIS Systems Manager. Congratulations to you both on a well-deserved recognition!

MDFT Teams with TanyaThe achievements of this past year were only made possible because of the compassionate people that choose to be a part of CMHA's mission every day. It is difficult to truly capture the culture and dedication that makes CMHA's services unique. That is why CMHA produced this video, "Writing Our Own Story", to let our staff and clients tell you, in their own words, what makes our agency so special.

While we're ready to close the book on this past year, CMHA is excited to already be writing our next chapter with the addition of three new Board members. Sworn in at the Annual Meeting, CMHA welcomes: Joe Aresimowicz, former two-term House Speaker and eight-term State House member; Veronica T. DeLandro, founder of VTD Consulting Group, current Board Member of both the New Britain YWCA and the New Britain branch of the NAACP, and newly appointed Clerk of Committees by the Common Council of New Britain; and Anthony D'Amato, lifelong resident of Bristol, part of the 3rd generation of family leadership at D'Amato Construction, and current Director of the Bristol Education Foundation. CMHA welcomes the combined knowledge, experience, and expertise of our newest Board members and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!



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